Fairfax Chevron Battle goes into Overtime

A Wednesday night hearing on the controversial proposal went on for more than four hours. The Town Council is nowhere near bringing the measure to a vote.

The future of a shuttered gas station on 2001 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard parcel (between Claus Drive and Azalea Avenue) goes before the Fairfax Town Council tonight. Credit: Gideon Rubin
The future of a shuttered gas station on 2001 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard parcel (between Claus Drive and Azalea Avenue) goes before the Fairfax Town Council tonight. Credit: Gideon Rubin
By the time they got to end of a Fairfax Town Council hearing on a proposed Chevron gas station that stretched into Thursday morning, an exhausted five-member council would have probably agreed to pretty much anything just to put an end to it all.

So they adjourned what they'd never have resolved with clear minds anyway until next year.

They'll resume the hearing on Jan. 15.

The council wanted to hear from the applicants and the public ahead of a vote on a proposed Chevron station and Extra Mile convenience store on the 2001 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard site where Fairfax Gas closed shop about two years ago.

The council had their chance to grill applicant Arash Salkhi and got to hear some comments and questions from the public.

But the hearing started late.

The swearing in of Mayor David Weinsoff and Vice Mayor Larry Bragman and a proclamation issued for retiring Ross Valley Fire Chief Roger Meagor was first.

The hearing didn't start until after 8 p.m., and went on for more than four hours.

Well after midnight, an engaged citizenry that showed up at 7 p.m. was already starting to trickle out of the meeting.   

"A lot of the community didn't have a chance to speak," Weinsoff said. "They have to get up in the morning and go to work."

The council has work to do too.

Weinsoff said the council sought confirmation from attorneys that they don't need to rush to a decision.

"There's no rush to judgment here," Weinsoff said. "The council had many questions of the applicant and the community raised a great number of questions.

"Those (questions) all need to get answered."

The council will need time to process those answers. None of the council members have yet stated their position on the proposal publicly.

The proposal has the blessings of the Department of Planning and Building Services, which issued a staff report in September.

But a vocal opposition has emerged that's pressuring the council to reject the proposal.

A group calling itself “No Chevron in Fairfax” has launched a petition that aims to sway the council to reject the commission’s recommendations.

They say the two locally owned gas stations Fairfax already has are enough, and that approving a Chevron station would open the floodgates to Starbucks and Chipotles and other chain businesses driving out locals.

The controversy is expected to drag on.

Weinsoff said it's unlikely the council will move on the proposal at the Jan. 15 meeting.

"I would suspect that the next meeting would not close the door," he said.

"There's a lot of data that we anticipate coming back at us in January and I think that there may have to be some more consideration and some more conversations.

"There were so many questions."

Sierra Salin December 06, 2013 at 12:13 PM
Yes, there ARE so many questions..... There are reasons which Fairfax is not full of "Starbucks," etc, and all the, corporATE money is the ONLY thing, blight, weaselwords and logos, which threatens the future of ALL life. The Corporate model sucks money and life out of local communities, returning little. Money is NOT a great reason to do or not do much of anything, but it is PART of the equation. Many spoke about issues such as Town character and vision, the despicable environmental and social legacy of Chevron, extra traffic, site issues, infringement of town property, and I will let others give details. Not ONE of the many spoke in favor of this project, which also includes a large mini mart, which oh joy, will have bike racks, and solar panels. Perhaps they can sell green condoms, to go with the cigarettes, alcohol, and most likely low quality, non-food posing as something edible. Just how many chemicals do we need for better "living?" Yes, we are ALL (most of us anyway) hypocrites, as we do drive, and drive, and drive, and consume around and around, making our own justifications as Natural systems and life crumble around us, and we refuse to make the connections to us, and our habits and choices. Chevron gas IS already being sold in town, at the other stations, unbranded, but from the same refinery's. Yes, we seem to have a system of private property, fences, ownership, and reducing all life to dollar values, as we drive around and around. We also have a town of folks who appear to value something more than new, shiny, fluff, assurances, or dollar profit as a good exchange for future health. Hows it all workin for ya? Are community and healthy environments perhaps more important than cheap disposable products, and moving more gallons of gas and non "food" junk? No, this is not just about Chevron, it is about creating a future worth living in, and does this project fit the site, the character or vision of the town, and could we perhaps do better? I know we can.
Jim Caldwell December 09, 2013 at 03:39 AM
I will gladly consider how Fairfax folks do not necessarily value profit first and foremost when looking for rentals or when chatting about the housing market. Otherwise good post...
Phil Shea December 13, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Let's chat. Notice the proportion of foreclosures in Fairfax compared to the rest of the Wal-state during the housing crisis? Low. Nice, huh? My thought about the Chevron is that at least they're more local than Shell or BP. Like it or not, people need gas. In fact, I needed gas one night in Fairfax at the "24-hour Pay at Pump" and Visa put a block on my card for several hours because the merchant was 'flagged.' Not only couldn't I buy gas, I couldn't buy food (or carbs posing as food). I'm not saying Chevron shouldn't be or can't be in Fairfax, I'm just saying that the residents should be anal retentive about the process of them being here. Oh yea, some EV chargers in the parking lot would be a great addition also.


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